Hi all and a big welcome back to myself I guess. Last week was full of fun and emotions as three of my student assistants who have been with me for 3+ years graduated. We celebrated and said our goodbyes more than once. I spent last week soaking up every minute I had with them. When I was a student worker, my supervisor would tell us how students would come for a short while, then graduate and leave, and the cycle would start over again. I never understood until now. I have had student assistants in my offices over the years, but this group was different. The three of them created a strong and supportive bond, something you don’t often see from women. We couldn’t have put three individuals who are more different together and somehow it just worked.
This weekend reminded me (again) of why I chose a career in higher education. To pour into young adults gives me the feeling of purpose. As if I am changing the world with the advice I give and the example I set.
The last two years I shared my experience with Leadercast (2015, 2016), a program hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, but live streamed to approximately 700 host sites around the world. The university I work for is one of those host sites. If you follow me on Twitter (@lexiandlady) then you saw a lot of tweets going out on May 5th. At the core of Leadercast’s mission is the notion that the world needs good leaders, “leaders worth following,” and the company brings together content to help individuals become leaders from any position. Sidenote…if I could find a way to work for GiANT Impact or another company with a similar mission I would, because I believe lifting others up through empowerment and development is so important.
This year we heard from regulars Andy Stanley and Dr. Henry Cloud, but there were others and also several female speakers which was refreshing. I am a firm believer in the power of women, but understand that while we have come a long way there is still further to go to gain respect in some male dominated industries.
The theme this year was Powered by Purpose. Leadercast defined purpose as “what defines us, drives us and empowers us.” Andy Stanley opened with the idea that we should view ourselves as a means to an end by devoting ourselves to more than ourselves. This big picture vision and overarching servant leadership is what some supervisors lack.
Molly Fletcher, former sports agent, author, and speaker, reminded me to determine who deserves my energy. As a self-proclaimed “fixer” I am always trying to help people and often get burned out. I forget sometimes it’s better to focus on those who need and want your help and energy. With a recently released book called “Fearless at Work,” Molly also talked about what it means to be fearless and to lean into those uncomfortable moments and decisions.
Jess Ekstrom, Founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope and author, was a great choice for the younger crowd. In college she volunteered with children receiving cancer treatment and realized many of them enjoyed wearing headbands after losing their hair. She founded Headbands of Hope and for every headband sold, one is donated. In her speech, she said “create what you wish existed” and that statement resonated with me. The act of creating something doesn’t have to mean a product. Creating a service, a culture, an environment applies too. The key is to ask yourself if your life, company, organization is driven by purpose and are you creating meaning in your day to day.
The day closed with Tyler Perry who simply told his story as a means to inspire others. Throughout his speech I jotted down notes, but the two points I want to share are polar opposites in their focus. The first is of servant leadership when he said “believe for them, believe in them, believe alongside them.” When you are a leader you are doing just that. You take someone under your wing and empower them by communicating what could be for them. Then you believe in them while they accomplish all you have envisioned for them. Lastly, you believe alongside them because servant leadership is also about continuing to take the journey even after the path is smooth. The second note I wrote down was “Do you want to go higher?” Tyler told a story of taking a hike with Oprah Winfrey in Hawaii and how he kept trudging onward and upward and felt defeated each time he would look to the peak of the mountain. After stopping to catch his breathe Oprah told him to turn around and look out and what he saw was breathtaking. She asked him “Do you want to go higher?” and he said yes. He explained that when he looked back on life he never wanted to feel like he missed an opportunity to go higher.
As much as it is important to pour into others, you have to fill your bucket first and never miss the chance to reach higher, dream bigger, or lean into the uncomfortable. Living a life of purpose is more rewarding because the outcome of purpose is measurable.
I hope you hung in there with me while I was away from the blog and through this very long post. Take a few minutes to define your purpose. Enjoy the week! xoxo Becca
Mother’s Day is fast approaching. I decided to put together a quick gift guide in case you need some last minute ideas. All products are under $50 so it is budget friendly as well. Last November I shared a post about gifting woes and the fact that Americans have so much stuff. I recommended gifting experiences instead of stuff. I still think that is a great first choice, but like I said, if you need something in a hurry a small gift like those above may be a good option.
This weekend the hubs and I are taking some friends out to the country so 4-wheelers and s’mores are in my future (yay). Next week is the last week in the semester and also when three of my student assistants, who have been with me for years, are graduating. It’s bittersweet and we’ve celebrated several times over the last few weeks. I am happy for them to move onto their careers and face all the challenges that will be thrown at them. As always, I am apprehensive about the change, but it is also an opportunity for me to face challenges.
I write this from our place in the country with Lexi snuggled by my side, but bacon is calling my name so I will end here. If you have Mother’s Day gift ideas share them in the comments. I’d love to know what you have bought your mom or will be buying this year.
Until next post…xoxo Becca